Book Events, Features

Author Event: Books by the Banks 2019


Well this is embarrassingly late… seeing as I attended this event back in October.  Oh well, better late than never right?

At this year’s BBTB, I got to see authors like Laini Taylor, Anne Bogel, Jasmine Warga, Emily Duncan, Kristen Simmons, Mindy McGinnis, and Eddith Pattou.


Books by the Banks took place on October 26, in Cincinnati Ohio.  I attended with my bookish bestie, Nicole, who had matching shirts made for us.  We were living our best #NerdLife.


We got many compliments on our shirts… and the wire shopping cart that I used to tote around our books all day.  After attending many of these types of events, I decided it was time to invest in some type of cart to save us the misery of carrying heavy books around all day.


Everyone was totally jealous of my awesome cart… best $14 I’ve ever spent!

We sat in on 3 panels: Teen Fiction, Author Spotlight: Laini Taylor, and Creating Lifelong Readers.  Here are a few highlights…

Teen Fiction: Adi Alsaid, Emily Duncan, Debbie Rigaud, and Kristen Simmons.  Moderated by Mindy McGinnis


Adi Alsaid

    • Adi was promoting Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak
    • He writes YA books because it suits his writing style and voice.
    • Fun fact: when he was in college he joined a market research project & got paid to brush his teeth.
    • The best compliment he has ever received was from a reader that reading North of Happy got them back into reading after the loss of a cousin.
    • The worst thing he hears about one of his books is “meh.”
    • When he wants to feed his insecurity he reads his book reviews on Goodreads.
    • His writing process has changed over time.  While he does outline, they have become more vague as the years go on.
    • Adi believes that writing is a skill that you have to practice.

Debbie Rigaud

    • Debbie was there to promote Truly Madly Royally, a Meghan Markle inspired rom-com.
    • She likes writing for a YA audience because she finds YA readers are less pretentious.
    • The best compliment she’s received are the readers who say they read her book in one sitting.
    • The worst thing she hears about her book are readers complaining that the characters are too young…
    • Debbie will begin her writing process by writing a 5-6 page synopsis, then expanding from there.

Emily Duncan

    • Emily was there to promote Wicked Saints
    • Her favorite part about writing Wicked Saints was writing the progression of her main character – from her sheltered life view to broader view.
    • The worst comment she has received for Wicked Saints was that a reviewer said it was a “spiritually concerning Shadow and Bone.”
    • When asked about her writing process, Emily joked that she wouldn’t wish her writing process on her worst enemy.  Emily is a pantser.  She will panic at various points during the book and rewrite many times.  After her first draft is finished, she goes back and marks places where she needs more description or expansion.

Kristen Simmons

    • Kristen was promoting The Deceivers
    • Kristen feels that adults often let their experiences inhibit them which is why she enjoys writing for teens because they don’t have those experiences to stop them from attempting big things.
    • She writes books that are very feminist.
    • The best compliment she received was when a reader told Kristen that she left an abusive relationship after reading one of her books.
    • The worst thing she has heard from a reviewer was one that wrote “this author is seriously messed up” in their review.
    • She has gotten to the 70k words point of a book and scrapped it.  Twice.  She feels it is important to accept the fact that many words are not going to see the light of day.
    • Kristen is an outliner, but that can change with the book.  It depends on the number of perspectives she is writing.
    • She suggests writing from the 5 senses to practice descriptive writing.
    • Kristin recommends to always think about tension when writing.  The big scenes don’t mean much without the tension beforehand.

Mindy McGinnis

    • Mindy was promoting Heroine
    • Mindy once caused an accident because she was texting and driving.  All the other cars involved were teen drivers, yet the adult caused the accident.
    • The best compliments she has received for Heroine are from recovering addicts that tell her she tackled addiction correctly & respectfully.
    • The worst comment she has ever received about one of her books was from someone that hated her book so much, they fed it to an alligator.
    • Mindy writes linearly from start to finish.  She is a pantser.  On a good writing day, she does not feel in control.  Mindy describes herself as a “tight” writer not a descriptive writer.


Author Spotlight: Laini Taylor


    • The author spotlight on Laini Taylor was moderated by Intisar Khanani.
    • Laini went to art school.
    • When asked why Laini writes fantasy, she responded that fantasy is what made her a reader.  She feels fantasy is so important because our brains need stories of hope & heroism.
    • She has tried to write realistic fiction, but had nothing to write.
    • Harry Potter inspired her to write for young people.
    • When writing for young people, Laini feels it is very important to handle sensitive topics with care.
    • Laini joked that writing a book is “an experience in learning how much you don’t know.”  She feels she has learned a lot about herself as a writer.
    • She likes to explore seeing people through different lenses because she has had a very privileged white middle-class experience.
    • She likes to explore themes like redemption, forgiveness, and hope in her books.
    • When Laini starts a book, she has a vague sense of the end, but doesn’t know how she is going to get there.  It is trial and error.
    • Strange the Dreamer started out as a standalone.  She had an idea about a character that lives above the world & sends down nightmares.  It was originally going to be Sarai’s story, but Lazlo stole the show.  The moment that it became Lazlo’s story, the book became much easier to write.
    • She spent 8 months writing in the wrong perspective in her current work in progress.
    • To her, writer’s block is when writing feels like driving with the brakes on, but just because writing can be hard it doesn’t mean that you are not meant to do it.
    • She finished her first book when she was in her mid-30s.
    • Laini likes to write fast drafts of scenes, then goes back and rewrites them until she is ready to write the scene.
    • If she feels stuck, she will brainstorm potential “what if” scenarios until she finds the right one.
    • Laini balances the dark moments with secondary characters to lighten the mood.  She lets her main characters do the heavy lifting.
    • She feels that to write a villain these days is challenging.  The stakes are so high, so a villain has to be really bad.
    • Laini is currently writing her first adult book.  It is a gender flipped retelling.


Creating Lifelong Readers: Anne Bogel & Meghan Cox Gurdon


Anne Bogel

    • Anne runs a popular blog called Modern Mrs. Darcy
    • She also has a podcast called What Should I Read Next?
    • Her book, I’d Rather Be Reading, is on the joys of the reading life.
    • Anne feels that adults can often lose the habit of reading.  Reading is something that you need to make time for.
    • She loved to help people find books that they will enjoy, and is honored to be a trusted source for recommending books.

Meghan Cox Gurdon

    • Megan wrote The Enchanted Hour
    • She is a children’s book critic for the Wall Street Journal.
    • Megan is a mother of 5 children.
    • Meghan feels technology has impacted our attention span negatively.  We are living in an age of distraction.
    • She feels imagination is a muscle that needs exercised.
    • Meghan is hesitant to offer book recommendations because books are personal.
    • She feels reading aloud is a natural experience that has so many benefits to children AND adults.

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Do you attend book festivals?  If so, which ones?

Have you read any of the authors I mentioned in the post above?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know!

What I'm Reading

5 thoughts on “Author Event: Books by the Banks 2019”

  1. I don’t think I would attend book festivals but I really enjoyed this look into one. I particularly liked that ye shared insight on each of the panelists and shared tidbits of their talk. I like living vicariously through yer posts.
    x The Captain


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